In this guest column, Sue Couto (pictured below), senior vice president, APAC Sales, TiVo, gets out her crystal ball to deliver her top five media predictions for the coming year…
Over the last year, the media and entertainment industry has seen a significant number of developments, including the introduction of conversational voice search capabilities in the TV space that has transformed how consumers search and discover content. In 2018, we’re predicting that these five trends will develop and gain momentum.
- ‘Specialist’ voice services will win when it comes to the entertainment experience
With the proliferation of devices, both in and out of pay-TV, there is a need for re-simplification of the discovery experience. For pay-TV operators, voice has become table stakes in today’s competitive economy; as soon as one provider in the market gets it, the other providers start to look lacking. However, it will be the ‘specialists’ in the pay-TV market that come out on top.
Indeed, many voice services outside of pay -TV – such as home smart assistants – are considered ‘generalists’ when it comes to voice; they have knowledge of a lot of topics, but they also lack detail. Whereas in the pay-TV space, voice services understand in-depth queries so that consumers don’t feel the need to hold back when it comes to entertainment discovery. It’s this that will separate the wheat from the chaff in 2018. Critical to this will be the availability of voice services in other local languages.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) will realise the importance of ‘emotional intelligence’
Entertainment is all about emotion; it is how an audience connects to content. For the entertainment industry to tap into this, AI needs to become more than just anticipating consumers’ interests and merchandising back catalogues to reference-related content. It needs to become more ‘emotionally intelligent’.
Voice assistants should have the capabilities to develop a personality by understanding the emotional factors within a piece of content and the person it is interacting with, all while tying those two together to make an emotionally intelligent decision. It is also about voice assistants having a constant personality for a consistent entertainment discovery experience. In 2018, AI will realise the need to bring in ‘emotion’ to voice services.
- The pay-as-you-go mentality will affect media consumption
As consumers move – away from the commitment of contractual arrangements – and towards a ‘pay-as-you-go’ mentality, providers will need to adjust their business models to meet this demand. YouTube has already capitalised on the potential of spontaneous viewing, reinforcing the taste for instantaneous watching among audiences, rather than a long-term commitment.
In 2018, the flexible provision of entertainment content will be a step in the right direction for media and content organisations, and the industry.
- Mobile will fulfil a huge part of content consumption in 2018, even in sporting events
With the Asia Pacific mobile economy valued at $1.3 trillion, there is no doubt that we have seen a rapid uptake of mobile streaming across Asia in 2017. Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association (GSMA) forecasts that India and China will account for half all new mobile subscribers by 2020. This will have a huge impact on content consumption. In fact, content providers are starting to capitalize on this growth by investing in original and local content.
HOOQ has 20 local film and TV projects in development, while Netflix acquired its first mainland-originated Chinese drama from Alibaba-owned streaming platform Youko. These investments serve as proof points that mobile streaming will only continue to take off, catering to wider audiences with the introduction of live streaming for sports events. Twitter has already jumped on the bandwagon when it livestreamed the 2017 Melbourne Cup for the second consecutive year, with an impressive reach of 1.6 million unique users worldwide. In addition, Twitter continues to expand its partnerships with major sports-industry players in Asia Pacific.
2018 seems to be an exciting year with several global events to look forward to – such as the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and the Winter Olympics. Therefore, it’s likely they will also be watched live from mobile devices across the world. What’s more, with global events, e.g. Formula One, mobile device viewing is highly dependent on location, with time zones playing an important role in how viewers watch these key events. Thus, the availability of catch-up services could also lead to an uptake in device viewing.
- Regional OTT services will remain the global frontrunner until global OTT harnesses localisation
In many markets, multi-country Over-the-Top (OTT) service providers are currently battling for viewership with regional service providers. There is a rise in the number of regional OTT as consumers typically prefer watching content that are localised culturally. With regional OTT, typically being more cost effective, the tug of war between global and regional OTT necessitates having access to a good selection of more topical, local issues which are in tune with regional audience’s daily lives. This region-specific content could provide regional OTTs with the leverage they need to compete on a more even playing field, and not be swallowed up by the global players.